Moving Considerations for Military Retirees

Moving Considerations for Military Retirees

Tom Lawson

by Tom “Tex” Lawson

Director of Military Outreach

So you’re retiring from the military and are moving to your dream home… here are a few tips and things to remember.

You have a year to get your move done courtesy of the government. Travel must be completed within one year from the retirement date on your orders. A retiree can claim travel to any location within the U.S. where they plan to reside after retiring. Members separating or retiring from active duty are entitled to reimbursement of relocation expenses.

Here’s a list of the 10 best places to retire:

This study rated each state on three different criteria that are important to veterans:

  1. Economic environment – Factors such as state tax on military pension, projected job growth, housing affordability, cost-of-living, and the quality of the public university system.
  2. Quality of life – Factors such as number of military installations, arts, entertainment, and recreation opportunities, average population age, number of homeless veterans, and climate.
  3. Health care – This can include the number of VA health facilities, the number of hospitals, physicians and mental health counselors per capita, and the availability of veterans’ treatment courts.

Based on a combination of ratings for those criteria, here are the best states to move to after leaving the military:

10: New Hampshire

9: Missouri

8: Wyoming

7: Maryland

6: Alabama

5: Alaska

4: South Dakota

3: Florida

2: South Carolina

1: Virginia

For more details, as well as rankings of the worst states to move to after leaving the military, see this article: 2021 Best and Worst States for Military Retirees.

Wherever you move and whatever the reason, you should definitely update your financial plan. Some considerations include:

  • Reviewing your fixed income holdings to ensure your income will be sufficient. And, if you have state-specific tax-free bond, consider if a switch is feasible or desirable.
  • Take a look at your current asset allocation to see if you are taking more risk than warranted, given that you are retiring and will likely have a reduction in your overall income.
  • Meeting with your attorney to review your estate planning documents to make sure they are valid in your new location and consider who you want to be the successor trustee or executor, as they may be geographically challenged. While you’re at it, check and verify all of your beneficiaries on all of your accounts.
  • Considering how your income will be taxed. There are nine states that do not tax retirement income, but you should also be aware of other taxes, such as property tax.
  • Being aware of the price of health care. If you are retired from the military, you most likely have Tricare so when you reach the age of 65 you will get Medicare with the Tricare for Life option. Go to because there is a wealth of information on the various options and their associated cost.

This is just some food for thought, but feel free to give us a call and schedule a review. It is a good idea to complete a review on an annual basis if you are going through big life changes or if you’re relocating.

Here at Client First Capital, we are here to serve you and are especially proud to serve those who have served!